As states around the U.S. consider reopening, the country's death toll topped 61,000, according to an NBC News tally. Globally, there have been more than 232,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Protesters, some armed, demonstrated on Thursday against the Michigan lockdown on the steps of the state capitol building. And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down beaches in Orange County after seeing what he called "disturbing" images of crowds from over the weekend.
Florida on Wednesday announced that it would slowly reopen. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the plan to lift restrictions "in a very measured, thoughtful and data-driven way," will go into effect Monday in every county except the three where most of the state's COVID-19 cases have been reported.
Meanwhile, South Korea recorded no new domestic COVID-19 cases for the first time in 72 days. The country dealt with the first major outbreak outside China, but brought the crisis under control with a massive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. are starting to reopen.
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Trump says he has seen evidence that virus originated in Wuhan lab
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump suggested Thursday he has seen evidence that the coronavirus was created in a Wuhan lab, just hours after the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement that the virus was "not manmade or genetically modified."
"Yes I have," Trump said when asked by a reporter if he had seen anything that gave him a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of the virus.
"We have people looking at it very, very strongly," Trump said. "Scientific people, intelligence people, and others."
When asked what evidence he had, Trump responded "I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that."
The U.S. Intelligence Community is continuing to examine "whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” according to the DNI statement.
Coronavirus could make the iconic department store a relic of the past
The department store, once a proud symbol of American excess and upward mobility, threatens to descend into obscurity as a result of the coronavirus, with Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and Lord & Taylor all reportedly exploring bankruptcy.
Neiman Marcus, which also operates two Bergdorf Goodman stores in New York City and 22 Last Call discount locations, had been in distress well before the coronavirus halted nonessential shopping. The company has seen sales and revenue tumble as competition increases from online startups and brick-and-mortar stores launched by their own brands.
The company missed a key $5.7 million interest payment this month to pay down its$4.7 billion in debt. It reported a net loss of $31.2 million in July, compared with a net loss of $19.9 million the year before.
British Airways to cut one-quarter of its pilots
British Airways plans to drastically reduce the number of pilots by 1,130 out of a total number of 4,346, according to a report from Sky News.
The layoffs will include captains and co-pilots, and come as part of a sweeping rethink of the business model for the airline, which says it is not receiving government bailout money, unlike some European airlines.
British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz outlined cuts to services in a press release earlier in the week, saying, “We do not know when countries will reopen their borders or when the lockdowns will lift, and so we have to reimagine and reshape our airline and create a new future for our people, our customers and the destinations we serve."
The company also said it may pull out from Heathrow Airport.
The airline’s owner, International Airlines Group, had already said the airline would make up to 12,000 staff redundant as a result of the impact of the coronavirus.
British Airways did not immediately respond for comment.
'What is it about their immune system?' Rare complication seen in some kids with COVID-19.
Last Friday, high school junior Jameela Barber called her teacher in Dallas County, Texas, to apologize for neglecting to turn in her school work.
Her school's principal, Eleanor Webb, said Barber told her teacher she hadn't been feeling well.
"She said, 'As soon as I feel better, because I'm feeling really, really sick, I'm going to turn in my missed assignments,'" Webb told NBC affiliate station KXAS. The next day, Webb said, Barber died of complications from COVID-19. She was 17.
Brazil's surge in coronavirus cases, and its open borders, alarms neighboring countries
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Brazil’s virtually uncontrolled surge of COVID-19 cases is spawning fear that construction workers, truck drivers and tourists from Latin America’s biggest nation will spread the disease to neighboring countries that are doing a better job of controlling the coronavirus.
Brazil, a continent-sized country that shares borders with nearly every other nation in South America, has reported more than 70,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths, according to government figures and a tally by Johns Hopkins University — far more than any of its neighbors. The true number of deaths and infections is believed to be much higher because of limited testing.
The country’s borders remain open, there are virtually no quarantines or curfews and President Jair Bolsonaro continues to scoff at the seriousness of the disease.
Photo: Burials in Indonesia
Cemetery workers place a coffin into place in an area of newly dug graves for those suspected of dying from COVID-19 on April 30, 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia's official statistics report that nearly 800 people have died from COVID-19, but a recent review of data from 16 of the hardest hit provinces suggest that the number of deaths may be well over 2,000.
Long wait times at understaffed labs handling testing have made it difficult for the government and others to accumulate accurate statistics about how many people have the disease and how many of those suspected of dying from the disease actually had it.
Hundreds of protestors, some with guns, demonstrate against Michigan emergency measures
Hundreds of Michigan residents protested outside the state Capitol building in Lansing on Thursday, with some pushing inside while the Legislature was debating an extension of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protesters held signs, waved American flags and even carried firearms while some chanted, “Let us in!” and “This is the people’s house, you cannot lock us out,” and others tried to get onto the House floor but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms, according to WDIV-TV, an NBC affiliate in Detroit.
A state police spokesman told NBC News that it is legal in Michigan to carry firearms as long as it is done with lawful intent and the weapon is visible.
The protest, dubbed the "American Patriot Rally," was organized by Michigan United for Liberty to call for the reopening of businesses.
Photo: "No mask? Fuhgeddaboutit"
A sign over Interstate 87 in the New York City borough of the Bronx on Wednesday tells motorists to wear masks when venturing outside.
California governor shuts down Orange County beaches after 'disturbing' photos of crowds
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered beaches south of Los Angeles closed after "disturbing" pictures emerged of thousands flocking to Orange County's coast — and not social distancing.
"The images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing," Newsom said of the crowds on the sands of Newport Beach this past weekend. "Today we want to make some clarifications. We're going to do a hard close (in Orange County)."
The governor said Southern Californians still have plenty of outdoor options: "Let's be guided by common sense and these public health officials."
Georgia's shelter-in-place order expires tonight
Georgia's shelter-in-place order will expire at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday night for most of the state and not be extended, Gov. Brian Kemp announced.
The governor said Thursday that though he was lifting the mandatory lockdown measures, he urged residents to voluntarily remain home and said any opened businesses should maintain social distancing guidelines. Kemp signed a new order that required "medically fragile and elderly Georgians" to remain sheltered in place until June 12.
"The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities, and my decisions are based on data and advice from health officials," Kemp said Thursday. "I will do what is necessary to protect the lives — and livelihoods — of our people."
Although many states have chosen to loosen restrictions in an effort to reopen the economy, high-ranking health officials have warned that it may be too soon.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC's "Today" on Thursday that states must have the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing people who test positive or they risk a rebound in cases.
Cadets will be tested for coronavirus when they return to West Point for graduation
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy pushed back Thursday afternoon on the idea that President Donald Trump drove the decision to bring cadets back to West Point for a graduation ceremony in June, saying Army leadership presented the plan to return to Pentagon leadership and the White House over a month ago.
Speaking during a Pentagon briefing, McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville explained the cadets have to come back to clean out their dorm rooms and go through medical screening so they can become second lieutenants in the Army. They said they have been planning to bring them back all along and were just working through procedures and timing.
West Point's Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, said the Army has set up a staging base near the academy where all cadets will be screened and tested for COVID-19. Those who pass will move to West Point and be split into five corps, and all corps will live and eat separate from each other for two weeks to ensure no one is sick.
A defense official said a cadet who is exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive will not be required to return and can come back later this summer.